How would you rate the customer experience (CX) your business provides to customers? More importantly, how do your customers rate their customer experience with your business? You might be shocked at the answers to those questions.
Most business owners and executives think they’re doing a pretty good job at pleasing their customers. In fact, Bain & Company found that 80% rate their organizations as delivering a superior customer experience.
But do your customers agree? Do they feel they received a “superior customer experience?” Unfortunately, there’s a huge gap between the perceptions of businesses and customers. Only 8% of customers believed they received an outstanding CX.
Based on the beliefs and expectations of customers—the opinions that matter—far too many businesses are failing at providing a great customer experience.
What is the Customer Experience?
Customer experience encompasses much more than traditional customer service. In many instances, a customer service rep spends much of the time providing information and/or fixing a problem. Customer service is extremely important, but is only one element of the entire CX.
The CX is the sum total of all interactions between your business and your customer at all stages of the sales process. It includes their website experience, emails, phone calls and chats, customer service contacts and, of course, their satisfaction with your product or service.
How Important is Customer Experience?
Would you like a 70% increase in revenue in the next three years? A Temkin Group study found that an investment in providing a superior CX can pay rich rewards to the bottom line.
What explains this revenue growth? Happy customers return to your business and spend more. As you probably know, it’s much more productive and cost-effective to retain a customer than to try to bring back a former customer.
A great CX increases customer satisfaction, reduces churn and grows revenues.
- Up to 86% of buyers will pay more
- 73% factor their CX into their purchasing decision
- 65% are influenced more by a good CX than by great advertising
Customers expectations are increasing. A Walker study revealed that by 2020, the most important brand differentiator will be the CX, overtaking price and product.
7 Steps to a Great Customer Experience Strategy
A Clear CX Mission
Develop a laser-focused CX vision that can be clearly communicated throughout your organization. If your mission statement is gathering dust, revise it so that it’s a concise set of guiding principles that everyone knows by heart and puts into practice. These guiding principles should be reflected in all training and development programs.
Know Your Customers
Yes, you’ve heard it a thousand times and probably spend time and money researching this. However, the raw data can be brought to life by creating profiles and personas for representative customers. Putting a name and face to a representative customer will make it easier for the team to connect and empathize with real-life people and situations.
For example, one customer type could be profiled as Jill, a tech-savvy 29 year old who’ll have no problems following a video tutorial. Bill, a 60 year old, prefers clear written instructions. Understanding the needs and desires of different personas can make it easier for support reps to recognize these traits in real customers and enable them to provide better support.
An Emotional Connection is Important
A great CX creates an emotional connection between the customer and your business. Sometimes, a small action such as a phone call or hand-written card can generate the type of customer loyalty that businesses dream of. Researchers found that emotions represent half of an experience. Creating an emotional connection with customers will have a dramatic impact on buying decisions.
An emotionally-engaged customer, according to a Harvard Business Review study, is:
- Three times more likely to recommend and re-purchase
- 44% less likely to shop around
- Much less sensitive to prices
Optimizing for an emotional connection is invaluable.
Real-time Customer Feedback
You need to ask customers how well you’re doing. One of the best ways is with a popup that asks one or two customer sat questions. Follow-up email surveys and follow-up calls are also useful.
Tying feedback to the responsible agent can be very helpful in identifying room for improvement. A regular training and development program is well worth the investment. Individual coaching, online courses and group training can be implemented.
Asking for employee feedback once a year during the annual review is inadequate. Developing a method to receive continuous feedback from employees will ensure you stay on top of CX. You’ll know what’s working and what’s changed and needs attention now. Various project management and social media tools can let you create a closed environment for real-time feedback.
Measure Your CX ROI
After spending time, energy and money, you’ll want to know if it’s paying off. Calculating this can be challenging. Many businesses use the Net Promoter Score. In brief, the NPS asks if the customer would recommend this company to a friend or relative. This simple benchmark is easy to use and provides valuable insight.
At BXP Creative, we love to satisfy the challenge of rising customer expectations. We know that you can’t spend much time patting yourself on the back for doing such a great job because a bigger challenge is walking through the door.
However, our Case Studies will give you a quick look at how we’ve helped other businesses. We collaborate with our clients and provide customer-centric solutions for a superior customer service experience.